Happy New Year?

Well, here we are, it’s a new year.  I have ditched my iPad in favor of a Kindle Fire tablet gifted to me by Alison.  It’s become my new best friend and also made me extremely grateful for those who gift me.  I seriously couldn’t afford such tech or gadgetry for myself and I do appreciate it.

I love it and am especially happy that the keyboard I got for the iPad works with it as well.  I am, in fact, typing on it as we speak.  I play sudoku on it, read more on it, take it places with me, watch Pride and Prejudice endlessly on it while I do dishes, write on it and take pictures with it.  Eventually I’ll figure out how to text on it and then, oh boy, I’ll be set won’t I?  Unfortunately it also makes window shopping on Amazon even easier but hey, my wish lists can’t hurt me.

It’s snowing out there today and I’ve been thinking about so many things for future blogs.  My big, fat Israeli divorce.  My heart bleeding silently for Jerusalem.  My love for my fiance and home here under the permafrost.  How these two things can be compatible in my life – my two greatest loves which are so very far apart.  My son, who is growing up before me and how hard this is for us both.  How autism morphs and changes and we blaze new and unknown trails every day as he grows into such an amazing young man and I struggle, as always, to just keep up and continue to wonder why people praise me for being a great mom – really, it’s because he’s such a tremendous young man.

I’m crocheting now after my knitting just disgusted me to the point of giving it up for now although Knitpicks has my nickel plated interchangeables for sale and they’re really gnawing away at me.  I still harbor that intense hatred for Polish customs for throwing away my needles in case you’re still wondering.  Anyway, I am making a “starburst” square afghan which consists of a gabillion little kinda granny squares that are really little starbursts that will all hook together.  I need a gabillion and I think I have 17 done.  Tune in later for more on THAT one.

I’ve been baking bread that sometimes people eat and lately, most of the time they snub.  Along with most of my dinners.  Oh Scott eats everything and praises what I cook and since I cook as an art, that makes me happy but still.  I have a can of raspberry pie filling and a package of yellow cake mix….I’m thinking raspberry filled cupcaked for Shabbat this week.  If I feel like it, I MAY share them with the children.

Then again, maybe not.  Depends.

I spent most of December worrying because on the first night of Hanukkah I got a call about my old house – someone was interested in buying it.  It wasn’t in the greatest shape and really, not in the best location and honestly, I wanted to just get rid of it before someone torched it.  The median sales price for what I had was less than $20,000 so I was happy with what we negotiated and I agreed to a sales price.  Talk about a Hanukkah miracle.  Most houses where my house was are on the market for 3-5 years and houses like mine?  Usually just abandoned.  So…being the worrier I am, I worried until the sales contract was signed and then I worried until the closing because I knew it would either fall through, there would be some wild lien I couldn’t even fathom or someone would torch it before we could get pen to paper.  I asked everyone I could think of for prayers and prayed as much as I could and to my own surprise on 31 December, we closed quickly, easily and with no fanfare.  Just signed the papers, said “Well, that’s that”, said goodbye to the ex, and walked away.  I never felt so relieved in my life.

I set about paying off debts I never thought I could pay off – I can’t even describe the feeling.  I have been so poor for so long and remain poor even after everything is now settled but I know that I am building a better life that hopefully will reveal itself.

Miracles are afoot and I bask in them.  I learned a long time ago that sometimes the only thing you can do is ride the tide of the miracles and just let HaShem do his thing and take you where you’re meant to go.  Fighting it really doesn’t get you anywhere and to be honest, basking in the glow of miracles is a pretty amazing feeling.  I recommend you try it.

I still feel anxious and, I hate to say it, depressed.  Maybe it’s the winter time even though I enjoy this time.  I think maybe depression isn’t even the right word.  Sometimes tired seems more like the right word.  Like life just makes me tired.  The happys aren’t as sparkly but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel happy, it’s like Scott said to me one evening when I was watching something funny on tv – “why aren’t you laughing?”  I was amused, just not enough to make me laugh out loud.  It’s hard to describe.  I suppose it’s like you can see the sun but it’s just not sparkly sunshine.  The sky is not a birdsegg blue.  You just DO, you don’t BE.  I can’t explain but that’s how I feel about it.  Sometimes I wish I could just sleep all day but I can’t.  I know that that’s what keeps me getting up each day.  If it weren’t so cold out, I’d be walking.  Routine powers my day but it doesn’t mean it’s any less exhausting just going about the routine of life.  And I am okay with it.  The routine gets me up and moving and I try to make little bits to look forward to, to break up the monotony of the routine….but the exhaustion and boredom remain.  Maybe someday it will change.  Right now, I just don’t see that.

So anyway, if I haven’t depressed you to death or bored you silly, happy new year to you.  Have you made any resolutions?  I used to when I was little.  I’d make – wait or it….schedules and routines for me to follow.  Now, not so much.  I make changes as I go…I don’t necessarily see calendar dates as the big time to decide to change my life.  This year I will be walking a 5k at the Pittsburgh Marathon and I am raising money for Evan’s Miracle League baseball team that allows kids with special needs to play adaptive baseball  (DONATE HERE) which is one of the most worthwhile things I can think of EVER doing so I am training for that.  And as usual I am doing random acts of kindness like carrying my emergency dollar to help people with change at the grocery store, helping out when I can (like bringing in trash cans when people are at work and it’s windy) and just trying to be a better human being this year.

Good Eats? Then Why Am I So Offended??

Cooking is like an art to me…a form of self expression.  I collect cookbooks and recipes.  I pore through them and pick and choose things that I think my family will not only like but will also EAT.  In short, I really enjoy not only the process of cooking but I think what I enjoy most is the CHALLENGE of cooking.

I admit I am a big cookie artist.  I love to find all sorts of different kinds of cookies to make.  I recently started to feel the same way about basically any kind of cooking I am doing.  And to me, it’s so much of an art that I also get really offended when the family turns its collective nose up at what I have worked so hard to produce.

Every night for me is like Cupcake Wars with real food!

And it’s hard to even figure what they’ll accept or reject.  Take for example Sloppy Joes  – REJECT!  In fact, one of the children asked where were the noodles for the spaghetti sauce, very clearly missing the hotdog buns (I think they create less messy Joes) set beside the plates.  He also missed the plates and got another one instead – yeah, the “children” are 21 and 29, respectively, but please, bear with me.

Tonight I made lemon chicken with sweet and sticky green beans and rice.  I even made the effort to make applesauce raisin bars for dessert.  Not even touched.  Last night I made them cheeseburger macaroni from scratch with Velveeta and most of ended up in the fridge.

I was crushed both times.

Last week, I went on strike and proclaimed for all to hear that I wouldn’t be making any NEW food OR cookies until all the leftovers STOPPED.  I stopped making human sized portions too and stuck to child sized fare so there really wasn’t a lot to eat anyway and it was all first come, first served.

But now, I realize that I do get really offended when they reject what I make.  Even the easy stuff.  I mean, what am I supposed to do?  I can’t even judge based on past experience what they will eat or won’t eat and I’m pretty much stuck making Happy Meal sized portions for a family of four adults for the forseeable future.

It gets even worse because I feel compelled to EAT this stuff when I prefer food I know they won’t even touch.  Like chumus or falafel or vegetables or an apple.  You get the picture.

Which brings me to my two evil confessions.  First, yes, I hide food that I want to eat.  Why?  Because they are like locusts here.  If I would put out a bag of tortilla chips that would take me a month to eat with salsa on the side as a snack….I’d never see them.  So yes, I have a stash.  And the second thing is I dole out cookies on a need to eat basis.  I realized they were wolfing down my hard work like dime a dozen Dollar Tree cookies and so now I put out about half a dozen at a time.  Is it mean?  Probably but I felt so hurt that my hard work was eaten with such little regard.  And I proved it, too, when I got them 3 dozen cookies for $0.99 from Aldis and they were gone in a day.  About the same as it took them to inhale mine.  So I don’t feel too badly about my evildoing.

It’s just all so difficult. How do you feed a pack of people like this?  You can’t tell what they like (other than chocolate chip cookies from ANYWHERE) and you never know when or what they’ll eat.

So what do I do?  Any ideas?

I bought a head of cauliflower and tomorrow I am making Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with it.  No one in this house will even go near it and I don’t even want them to.

They can have leftovers and believe me, there are a lot this week!  They’re all made with good food from top notch recipes and you can take it from me, I worked hard to make them all.  On second thought, maybe I SHOULDN’T complain OR be offended.

I’m getting quite a few nights off from cooking!

Top 15 Things Every Mommy Should Have In Her SUPER MOMMY Diaper Bag

diaper-bag-4You’d think a mom of a 21 year old wouldn’t have a diaper bag wouldn’t you?  And I probably wouldn’t except I ordered what I THOUGHT was a tote bag and it turned out to be a diaper bag.  Vera Bradley natch, so you KNOW I couldn’t just hide it.  No, being bright yellow with little flowers and a plastic liner just screamed “This is a DIAPER bag!  USE me!”

So I did.  And it’s kind of funny how useful it became.  I could carry everything we could, should or would need, everything we might IMAGINE we would need and all those weird things (“Honey, do you have a lighter in there?”) you can’t even imagine you’d ever need.

Kind of like your basic “Let’s Make a Deal” bag, you know?

I mean, how many people actually HAVE a Sackajaweewa quarter and how many actually have it ON them at the precise moment their boyfriend’s mother wants it to complete her state quarter collection?

You guessed it…ME!

So here is a list of what I carry in the diaper bag for my 21 year old son who, while very high functioning, has less regard for his personal hygiene or the memory to remember to bring his batting gloves to baseball practice.

  1. antiperspirant – and not just ANY kind.  No I go for the rad, Right Guard, kills anything germy or gross smelling on contact, gel variety.  Believe me, this is a 21 year old’s diaper bag essential.  I should mention I also carry same in the glove box and in my purse.  Call it self defense.  Some people carry pepper spray?  I carry Right Guard.  Don’t judge me.
  2. baby wipes – I mean, duh.  You know someone is going to spill something on the seat of the car and believe it or not, baby wipes are REALLY good at getting that and other unidentifiable substances out of car upholstery, clothing AND neckties.
  3. hand sanitizer.  This is double or even triple duty.  Not only can it make me feel less icky about the possibility that my kid used a public toilet, touched everything in there and didn’t see the sinks on the way out…but, should be come near me and reek of ripe burrito to high heavens, this on a baby wipe will KILL anything and refresh the pits.  Then a fresh application of the Right Guard, waiting until it dries, followed by ANOTHER backup application has the back of ANY lengthy cartrip.  I also occasionally wonder if it could save ME if I started licking it off my hands but I decided that wasn’t the best idea I ever had.  Bring on the baby bottles of wine!
  4. Clean t-shirt.  I found this to be essential after we were on the Ocean City Boardwalk and the scream echoed “I have BIRD POOP on my SHOULDER!!!!!!”  Now I am prepared with everything listed above AND a clean t-shirt.
  5. plastic zip bags.  These are extremely useful to organize the diaper bag and to contain those items that might pollute the other things if they get opened – like the Right Guard and hand sanitizer.  If you store your baby wipes in one, it can also keep them from turning to paper towels on your trip.  They are also good to keep books, snacks, well, just about everything you can think of , in.  I also like to keep them arranged by “grab a bag for all your needs” – Right Guard, small zip bag of wipes, small hand sanitizer grouped together.  That way I grab for one bag to neutralize a situation (pun fully intended!) instead of scrounging for each item and then shaking the wipes out of their original pack.
  6. Pens, styluses (styli?), small screwdrivers, nosepads for glasses, screws for glasses, a microfiber glass wipe and crayons (because you never know) all packed into their own bag.
  7. Contact lens case, glasses, sunglasses, contact solution and drops all in THEIR own bag.
  8. Sock yarn and knitting needles in a yarn bag – I love these.  They are little nylon bags you can store your little project in and even carry around your neck to knit while you walk if you are so coordinated.  I’m not but hey, I am a knitting fashionista so while I can’t do it myself…I can look like I can!
  9. For some reason I carry coins and cash from other countries.  Weird but I do.  Usually it’s because they are in my other things (like bookmarks in books or just stuck in my wristlet) and I have been too lazy to take them out.  But…as you can see from the example above…a Sackajaweewha quarter can make an old lady’s week complete!
  10. Nail polish and nail polish remover wipes.  (Boredom…take that!)
  11. Nintendo DS and games.  Yeah sure, we all have our iPhones and iPods now but occasionally while battery charging or just for a change, someone wants to go old skool and I AM READY!
  12. Snack crackers, mints and chewing gum.  While we don’t eat this stuff every day…wouldn’t you know someone in the car cannot live without it at that VERY MOMENT???
  13. Eos lip balm.  I’ve said it before…I love these.  They are cute.  That is all.
  14. Sunscreen.  Do I need to say anything else when I have a child with white skin and blond hair?  No.  But even if you don’t have a child with white skin and blond hair, take it anyway.  I get at least 60 SPF.  Your mileage may vary.
  15. Band aids, spray neosporin,  and methialate (evil, evil laugh).  I thought of all of this this past weekend at the baseball game.  The little girl in front of me in the stands fell and scraped her knee.  Had I had my SUPER MOMMY diaper bag with me, I could have flown to the rescue with soothing neosporin spray and dapper Hello Kitty bandaids.

Of course there’s a lot more in there.  My Buddhist prayer beads, extra earrings that might strike my fancy, tylenol, advil, tissues, packets of paper towels, books I am might be will never be reading, Neutrogena hand lotion and zit lotion, hair brushes, makeup bag (I mean come on…I AM a girl), maybe some essential oil that I smell to keep me from committing some kind of Mommy Homicide – you know, Life on the Streets?  But whatever, I make my diaper bag my own and have plenty in there not only to protect but to also serve.  I can handle anything from a boy in need of extreme deodorizing all the way to bird poop accidents.

Now tell me, WHAT’S IN YOUR DIAPER BAG???